Truthfully, I was never a great dancer. I was decent, and I had charisma, a talent for breaking things down, and an eye for production. But was not a technician of any sort. My arms were often droopy, and my posture deplorable (still is), but I had a fire inside of me and it did come out on stage. I had visions of choreography, I had costume ideas, I was inspired to move at the slightest beat. I was so full of it all, and couldn’t NOT do it.
There were only a handful of times where I felt that my dance pulled me from where I was to a new place. Where I was stretched beyond my capabilities and no longer felt complacent and bored with my movement/self/life. When I felt fear and excitement and that I had let every ounce of myself ooze out of my body and shake out to the audience. I had some great times with this dance: incredible moments of performances, holding a dance festival, dancing in Margaret Cho’s Sensuous Woman show on and off, having a semi annual burlesque show. It was these moments that I longed for all of the time.
After years chasing this feeling and for a couple of them not finding it, I realized that I was through. I had abandoned my daughter (and she was doing WELL without me), I had a failing marriage that was little more than a business partnership–and not really a partnership at that, and I felt that my heart and soul had closed up shop and departed for greener pastures. It was at this moment that I new I had to leave. But the leaving was hard.
I moved to be near my parents, reunited with my daughter, and struggled a little longer on the marriage, before giving that up too. I was also homesick. Homesick for the feeling of doing that which was my happiness. The only thing that I new to make me feel this way was belly dance. So I took a class. I did a few scattered performances with Sage Hoban, one of the earliest of the Habbi Ru. When Sage injured her hand I took over her classes for a while, teaching our little community its first taste of actual ATS. Then I met Jessica Pittaway.
Jessica is a spitfire of a woman who had recently pulled into town from Philly. She is a beautiful dancer, with excellent technique, and a penchant for talking too much and too fast. (She often will say things three times in a row really fast so that you don’t have a chance to acknowledge that you heard the first time). This woman coming from her own troubles, was ready to start anew, and create something more than our current dance community had. I was swept up in her enthusiasm and wanted to support her efforts and even be a part of what she was doing. She opened the Belly Hive dance studio, dedicated to the sensuous art of belly dance. I moved my class to her studio and began to dance again. And slowly, I began to feel the drain on my source–not the filling up. It took months of not listening to myself to realize that this was not for me anymore. To understand that going back to dance was like going backward in my life.
Last night I as I was sitting in the Nevada City Theater, listening to the first strains of Helm playing live, I felt the familiar pang of envy. Over the past few years–well since my sabbatical from dance 7 years ago–I have deeply missed dancing and performing. All this time I thought it was the dance itself that I had missed. I realized last night, what I was missing was being in the creative flow, and pushing myself to be my best. To give all of the effort that I had within me.
I have places for that in my life now. Madame Doktor Belladonna has come to me and has inspired my/her own line of lip balm (made with lard!), and candles, and many more goodies on the way. My upcoming shop (online first, then otherwise) Cult of Gemini, with partner and sister Gemini, Kathy Frey. These are the places that I can push myself and my creativity. I will always love dance, and will always want to perform in some fashion, and feel the excitement of producing an event. But just not as a belly dancer. Rest in peace, beautiful lady.